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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: A Look Back at its Fascinating History

selena performance at the houston rodeo
Houston Rodeo History - Selena Quintanilla Performance | Credit: John Everett

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the most beloved events in Texas and it’s coming back from Feb. 28 – March 19, 2023. Since its first iteration in 1931, it has become an integral part of Houston’s culture and history. Here, we take a look back at the fascinating history of this event—from its inception to today. Join us as we explore the rich heritage of the Houston Rodeo and its impact on Western culture.

carnival at Houston's rodeo

Carnival at Houston’s Rodeo | Credit: RODEOHOUSTON Facebook

The Origin Story of the Houston Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was the brainchild of a small group of businessmen who wanted to bring more attention to their city. They decided that hosting an annual rodeo would be the perfect way to do this, as it would draw in visitors from all over Texas. In 1931, these men established the event and it has been going strong ever since.

Throughout the years, the Houston Rodeo has grown and evolved to become one of the biggest events in Texas. It now includes a variety of activities, from rodeo competitions to agricultural exhibitions to musical performances by some of the world’s top artists.

Since its inception, the event also serves a philanthropic purpose. The Rodeo is now the largest community fundraiser in the state, providing millions of dollars in scholarships and educational grants to students each year.

This is an event that continues to bring people together and celebrate western culture. From its humble beginnings to its current status as one of the largest events in Texas, this rodeo has a fascinating history that is sure to continue for many years to come.

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Elvis Presley at the Houston Rodeo March 1, 1970

Elvis Presley at the Rodeo March 1, 1970


Elvis Presley performance ticket for the Houston Rodeo March 1, 1970

Elvis Presley performance ticket for the Houston Rodeo March 1, 1970

Musical Acts at the Houston Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is not only a great place to watch some of the world’s best rodeo athletes—it also features an impressive array of musical acts. From country music stars like George Strait and Kenny Chesney to pop icons like Selena, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé, and legends like Elvis Presley, the event attracts some of the biggest names in music.

The musical acts at the Rodeo have become a cornerstone of the event, and it has even spawned its own genre of music—Houston Rodeo Music—which features many of the performers from past shows. These performances are a great way to enjoy some of your favorite songs while also taking part in the rich western culture that the event celebrates.

So, whether you’re a fan of country music, pop, or anything in between, there’s something for everyone here! With its exciting lineup of musical acts and entertaining rodeo competitions, it’s easy to see why this event has become a beloved tradition.

See this year’s Rodeo Houston Entertainment Lineup

Reserve Grand Champion at Rodeo Houston

Reserve Grand Champion at Rodeo Houston

Impact of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

More than just an entertaining event—this Rodeo also serves as a way to honor and preserve the rich heritage of western culture. Over the years, it has had a lasting impact on the city of Houston, from providing educational grants to local students to boosting the economy.

The event has also become a source of pride for many Texans and serves as an important reminder of the state’s history. Every year, people come from all over Texas—and beyond—to take part in this beloved tradition.

They may have grown in size and scope since its founding in 1931, but the Rodeo still reflects the spirit of western culture that it was created to celebrate. From professional rodeos athletes to amazing musical performances, the Houston Rodeo is a Texas tradition that’s here to stay for many years to come. So why not saddle up and join us for an unforgettable ride at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo? Yee-haw!

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  1. Pingback: Your Guide to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo | A Texas Guide

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